Significance of Continuous Testing

Do we recall that as many as 57 percent of customers indicated how they were inclined to abandon a cart if the page loaded in over three seconds, as per “Consumer Psychology and the E-Commerce Checkout,” July 2015? Nothing has altered much. In fact, if anything, the user out there is more starved of time and patience in this technology-horse-powered world.

In other words, with users who are always a minute and mile ahead in terms of expectations and choices; the need for Continuous Software Delivery has shaped into a ruthless imperative.

Timing for CT implementation

Getting to grab user needs and changes right the first time, and every time; is now a crucial survival yardstick for both business and IT teams. It is all about injecting more fluidity and seamlessness amongst test-cases, user-stories, diverse formats, sporadic data, virtual baskets and, thus, across the entire ecosystem.

This is a reality that almost every organisation has to look right in the mirror today as companies find themselves struggling in this ‘every business is a software business –directly and indirectly’ age. Here, of all the places, testing cannot be left as a footnote in the software page. It has to be done early on, right at the requirement and development stages; and seamlessly enough- so that every stage gets a taste and fruit of Continuous Testing.

Team Structure

To truly galvanise the power of Continuous Testing, teams are the underpinnings that deserve the most investment of planning and design-time. It is often observed, and with disillusionment, that QA stands miles away from development processes; hence, draining the possibilities and potential of the ‘continuous’ genre. With DevOps, IT industry has woken up to the need for bringing Devs and Operations pieces closer; but the wall between QA and others needs to crumble too.

Teams should resonate less with switch-on-off testers and more with test-design engineers, QA and advisors who can pragmatically steer automation and streamlining of testing processes. Teams should have adequate cross-pollination and training between QA professionals and developers, thus, releasing the power of this intersection of skills. This intersection lever can be extended to design areas, automation and development, vendor management, environment/configuration management, data management etc.

Implementation plan

Experts outline many recipes to do it right, but the overriding tenet is that an organisation needs to avert over-engineering of test tooling while keeping test environments well-provisioned and test data readily/easily available. This will also necessitate that tests are designed in a refreshing and relevant manner — more than mere pass-fail tick-boxes. They should, instead, help as barometers for actual risk-thresholds and enable teams to plan and automate test-cases right on from the requirements stage. The testable data should be handy, and test environments should be readily available.

Additional resources

The real sap of Continuous Testing lies in doing it deftly and strategically. One should pay attention to some salient safe-guards like:

    Ensuring cognisance of security, compliance and reporting needs even during extraction of test data in live, agile and seamless manner. Use of layered testing or better management of fast-changing user-interfaces, which reliance on GUI is unable to handle aptly. Building applications that can be amenable to peak-workloads, actual-user behaviour alignment and performance-cliffs.
  • Rigorous, realistic and early use of performance-testing towards that goal and user experience
  • Pushing QA and testing upstream for better hold on issues, anomalies and fluxes, thereby, injecting shift-left culture and more robust systems.
  • Using tester’s ability and adaptability for quick changes by covering request-fragmentation, improvement in traceability and
  • Domino-effects on all components of the system.
  • Introduction of holistic testing approaches and cross-functional collaboration, active-requirement gathering, accurate capture of user-functionality, optimised test-case designs, self-service data provisioning, automated maintenance, the smooth orchestration of overall release cycles, project-wide visibility etc.
  • Removal of disparate tools and processes, amplifying visibility; and knitting together all stages — designing, planning, release and deployment in a seamless way.
  • Speedier roll-outs of applications that can be counted upon for being robust, bug-free, proactive on defects, cost-effective, performance-ready and user-postured.
  • It is interesting here to comb through a vertical-industry benchmark report, by Boston-based mobile engagement platform Localytics, which found only 36 percent of people using an individual app one month after install, while 23 percent of apps are used just once before being ignored or dumped.

After assessing the engagement and retention rates of 37,000 mobile and web apps from over 2.7 billion devices (2016), it turned out that the average-monthly-engagement with individual apps keeps falling flat across all categories; with churn rates (that signal the percentage of people who do not return to an app after install) climbing up to 75 percent levels.

Incidentally, or not so, Gartner’s 2017 application development predictions indicated that by 2020, DevOps initiatives would cause 50 percent of enterprises to implement Continuous Testing using frameworks and open-source tools. Also, by the same crystal-ball and year, 50 percent of IT organisations would be applying advanced analytics in application-development to take application-quality and speed of delivery up several notches.

In other words, there is no better reason and time to smartly steer the opportunity and imperatives that Continuous Testing manifests into. Being in a ‘software’ business demands that. Users underline that demand every second, at every swipe and with every uninstall button. Catch them your side — get smart, get ahead, get Continuous.